Friday, 18 January 2013


This week the new VERVE Activities and Outreach Officer, Maya, and VERVE Communications Officer, Drew, started at the Pitt Rivers. We've inducted them through all of the departments but more importantly, the cake rota, plus what they should do in snowy weather (snowball fights, obviously!). They both seem eager to get started and keen to bring VERVE to life. Over the coming weeks they'll be updating this blog with what they are up to inside and outside the Museum walls...

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Making Moves

Before the arrival of the new VERVE staff team on Monday, preparations for the project continue apace. In order to accommodate new lighting and new displays there have been some major collections moves. Because of the nature of ethnographic collections, this work needs great time and care and we tend to do it in the early mornings or late afternoons when the Museum is closed to visitors.

Firstly, here are some more images from our recent music collection move. Conservation and collections staff transferred our reserve music collection to a temporary secure store room whilst its new off-site repository space awaits completion. Working in a museum is not all sitting at desks and drinking tea  - each of these Correx® boxes was specially made for its contents, and shifting and shelving dozens of them was tiring work!

Next, the staff sought assistance from our in-house technicians to negotiate the tricky job of removing a fragile model wooden house from its high, case-top resting place on the north side of the Court (ground floor), above the textiles cases. The model is made of palm wood with a palm leaf roof and was collected by Hugh Hastings Romilly - a colonial officer in the Pacific - in Papua New Guinea in 1886. It was donated to the Pitt Rivers Museum by Augustus Wollaston Franks of the British Museum in 1893.

Conservation staff thought it not improbable that the model house had not been moved in its one-hundred year history at the Museum - it was fragile and very dusty in places. It was thought best to move it in two stages using wooden boards for support. The top of a nearby case was unscrewed so that it could be used as a resting place. Then boards were fed under the house's legs and a scaffold put in place so it could be lowered gently and horizontally. It is now in the conservation lab for cleaning and inspection. It is a large object and it would be a shame to put it into store so we shall try to find an alternative spot to display it safely in the Museum.